The Ardnamurchan Lighthouse, on the most westerly point of the Ardnamurchan peninsula, was built in 1845 under the supervision of Alan Stevenson in an elegant Egyptian style, with Egyptian figurines decorating the lamp base. The lighthouse is fully operational and automated. The site is managed by the Ardnamurchan Lighthouse Trust and supports a tea room and shop, and an exhibition centre. There is also opportunity to climb the lighthouse itself.
The exhibition centre , in the former single storey, flat-roofed keeper’s house, contains an interesting exhibit on the workings of the lighthouse and its history and culture and includes a BBC programme on the importance of lighthouses , with footage of a royal visit to the Ardnamurchan lighthouse in 1986. There is also opportunity to explore the engine room and workshop. A real treat for the lighthouse and engineering enthusiast.
The exhibition centre also contains displays on the geology of the Ardnamurchan with geological maps, interpretation boards and rock samples. The Geopark room, produced in association with Lochaber Geopark, was officially opened in September 2010. The exhibit includes some great child- friendly interpretation resources to inform and entertain younger visitors.
There is also an interesting exhibit of the natural history of the peninsula and the surrounding seas.
It is also well worth visiting the lighthouse tower, although it can be rather a strenuous climb with 152 steps and two ladders! Good views of the Small Isles and Hebrides on a clear day. The tower is 36 metres high, slightly tapering and constructed of pink granite, with a corbelled walkway. There are some spectacular seascapes on less clement days. The tower also provides a good observation point for marine life. Look out for basking shark, minke whale and common dolphin between May to October and harbour porpoise and bottlenose dolphin all year round. If lucky, you may also spot an orca. There is a warden on hand to answer any questions and comment on recent sightings.
You can also walk around the outside former keeper’s cottages, storehouses and courtyard, where the Principal and Assistant Light keepers and their families lived with a subsistence lifestyle. Please note that the West Keeper’s Cottage is a self catering holiday home. You can also examine the fog horn up close and visit the enclosed observation platform with its interpretation board.
There are three picnic benches, a small network of paths, as well as a wind turbine on site.
The tea room, with its cobbled floor and stone walls is in the former stable block, provides a selection of light snacks and cakes and hot and cold beverages,
Open from April 1st until October 31st. There is a small admission charge for the exhibition centre and the lighthouse tower.
The exhibition centre and lighthouse tower are well worth a visit, if staying in Moidart and Ardnamurchan.